Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services hosted a dinner last night at the Union Hill Community Center to honor Battalion Chief, Johnny Wilkins, who retired from the fire department after thirty years of service.
After dinner and a slide-show presentation, Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather, came forward to thank Wilkins for his commitment and service to the citizens of Cherokee County. According to Chief Prather, “Wilkins came to work on January 2, 1989 and was hired to work at the Oak Grove Fire Department for $6.04 an hour. Wilkins received his EMT certification in 1993 and was promoted to Sergeant in 1996. In September of 1998, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and became a Captain in 2003. Wilkins retired as a Battalion Chief, a position that he has held since 2009. Wilkins is one of only four of the original members of the Oak Grove Fire Department left.”
The remaining Oak Grove members are Battalion Chief, Danny West, Division Chief, Dan Floyd and Fire Chief, Tim Prather.
Chief Prather then presented Wilkins with his “bugle” award. The bugle or speaking trumpet is a reference to a megaphone like device that was used in the early days of the fire service. Wilkins came to the podium and shared some of his experiences in the fire department and thanked everyone for coming to the event.
After the “bugle” presentation, chiefs, battalion chiefs, firefighters and friends came forward to roast Wilkins including his daughter, Chessa McGinnis, who spoke about a life with a father who is a firefighter. Additional funny stories were told about Johnny’s career with the fire department. Some of the speakers included Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather, Assistant Fire Chief, Eddie Robinson, Operations Chief, Shane West, Former Fire Chief, Bob Nealy, Shift Commander, Ryan McElwee, Battalion Chief, Danny West, Battalion Chief, Brian Ward, Battalion Chief, Fred Dobson, Capt. Scott Deal, Capt. Alec Adams, Capt. Marc Liscio, and Lt. Brady Cornelison.
Wilkins officially retired from the fire department last Monday. We congratulate Johnny Wilkins on his retirement and we thank him for thirty years of service to Cherokee County and its citizens.